Delighted to to win the Paradise Stakes at Newmarket on Friday on the Mark Johnston trained Marie’s Diamond (pictured below). He showed plenty of pace throughout and certainly wasn’t stopping at the end of the mile trip. It’s the third time I’ve won on him and nice to land another Listed victory.
I’m back at Newmarket today for 2000 Guineas day and I guess it will be quite strange riding behind closed doors on such a big occasion. I have no ride in the big race itself but it promises to be a cracker and it will be great to see Pinatubo back in action. Anyway, more about that race a little bit later as I have some really nice rides to look forward to and here are my thoughts…
STONE OF DESTINY (1.15pm)
I kick-off aboard Stone of destiny for Andrew Balding and King Power in the opening sprint. The Balding team have started the season really well and that has to be a big positive. A fast run five furlong sprint on decent ground would look to be his ideal conditions and I’m hoping for a real bold show here. I suppose a lot will depend on whether the real Stone Of Destiny turns up here as he often has two ways of running. If he’s on a going day he has a serious chance.
WELL DONE FOX (1.50pm – Palace House Stakes)
More sprint action in the form of the Palace House Stakes where I ride another for King Power. This time it’s Richard Hannon’s Well Done Fox who has been off for a while. He was a smart two-year-old and if he can return to that level of form he’d be a lively outside here. The Hannon team seem in good form and he is bound to improve for whatever he does today.
QUEEN POWER (2.25pm)
My best chance of a winner on the day will definitely be Queen Power for Sir Michael Stoute in the Dahlia Stakes. Her trainer has a knack of improving fillies like this with age and she is much better than she showed at Windsor when she ran below par. She felt great the other morning when I sat on her and I’m really looking to getting back on her. The combination of the trip and ground look ideal and despite the presence of some pretty talented Godolphin fillies, I’m confident she should show up well.
2000 Guineas (3.35pm)
No ride for me in the big race but it looks like a really good renewal. All eyes will obviously be on Pinatubo who was a brilliant two-year-old. If he has trained on there is no doubt he will be incredibly hard to beat. With the Andrew Balding team in such good form, It would be no surprise to see Kameko run well too. I know that Andrew is really pleased with him and they were all delighted with a bit of work he did at Kempton the other day. Whether he is good enough to beat Pinatubo is the question, but hopefully he can go well. Aidan O’Brien has an extraordinary record in this race and comes here with a strong hand. You have to respect Arizona and all of his other runners.
WILL TO WIN (5.20pm)
I am looking forward to riding Will To Win in the six furlong handicap. He’s been in incredible form on the all-weather and hopefully can be just as effective switching back to the turf. This will definitely require more, but he is progressing and deserves this step up in class.
RISE HALL (5.55pm)
I ride him for the first time and this will be his first test over this trip. He was a winner over 1m 2f last season over the July Course here and has every chance of seeing out the extra trip based on the way he was staying on in the closing stages that day. This is a really competitive class 2 in which just about the whole field can be given some sort of a chance, including Nate The Great who has his first start for Andrew Balding.
Enjoy the action.